Ford Sales Drop Is Lowest Since '08

Ford ( F) says its sales fell 11% in June, its lowest decline since July 2008 and believed to be the lowest decline among major automakers.

Ford also said its June market share is 3% higher than the same month a year ago, even as it continues to reduce incentive spending. On a sales call, Ford sales analyst George Pipas said Ford's June market share is in the high 16% range, up three points from a year earlier.

In early afternoon trading, Ford shares were up 2.3% to $6.21.

"We're making steady progress," said Jim Farley, vice president for marketing, in a prepared statement."We remain grounded, however, given challenging industry and economic conditions."

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Sales of the Ford Fusion rose 26% from a year earlier to 18,561 vehicles. Ford Flex sales totaled 4,784, a record monthly total. For the year, however, total Ford sales were down 32.9%.

The automaker said internal and external studies show a positive trend in the percentage of consumers with favorable opinions about Ford, the only one among the Detroit Three automakers to eschew a government bailout and a bankruptcy filing.

At the end of June, Ford vehicle inventories totaled 343,000, equivalent to a 60-day supply and down 8,000 vehicles from the end of May and down 214,000 vehicles from a year earlier. Ford has said it will boost third-quarter production by 25,000 vehicles to 485,000, up 16% from a year earlier.

In May, Ford sales fell by 24.2% from a year earlier, which until this month represented the lowest sales decline since July 2008.